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Benefits of Exercise in Recovery

Benefits of Exercise in Recovery

There is a myriad of reasons why regular exercise is beneficial for any person. Exercise is especially important for individuals who find themselves in substance abuse or addiction recovery.

Part of treatment for substance abuse and addiction is to help teach an individual to live a healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs or alcohol. This can include helping a person shift his or her eating habits, improving one’s sleeping routine, strengthen one’s social skills, and implementing an exercise plan.

It is widely known that exercising releases one’s endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in one’s brain.

They work as neurotransmitters that pass information from neuron to neuron in one’s body. One of the functions of endorphins is to reduce one’s perception of pain. It is also known as a pleasure chemical in one’s brain. Exercise stimulates the release of one’s endorphins, which in turn helps an individual experience pleasure. For a person in recovery from substance abuse and addiction, experiencing one’s natural form of pleasure, is essential. A person must rewire his or her brain to be able to experience a normal amount of joy without the use of drugs or alcohol. Exercising has the propensity to do just that.

Across the board, treatment plans and program will encourage its participants to engage in regular exercise.

The particular types of exercise encouraged in addition to the options available will vary depending on the geographical location of the treatment center. Some facilities will have access to exercise equipment, exercise classes, or even a space with which to swim, practice yoga, or a path to run. A person should feel free to experiment with different types of exercise and explore what may work best for him or her.

Similar to substance abuse and addiction, every person will connect to exercise differently. Some people will love to sweat and other will not.

Some individuals will prefer a type of exercising that utilizes equipment (weights, kettlebells, exercise machines) and others will prefer to simply go for a walk or run. Nowadays there are a plethora of exercise options available, and it is important for a person to identify which type resonates with him or her. If a person chooses a type of exercise that he or she does not enjoy, the likelihood of him or her integrating it into his or her daily life is rather slim. Furthermore, the probability that he or she will stick with it is almost none. With regards to exercise, there is no reason for a person to spend time doing something that he or she does not enjoy because there are so many options out there.

In recovery having a clear routine, with explicit expectations is imperative.

A person in a treatment program, is coming to it from a place where he or she spent almost every second thinking about getting drugs or alcohol. The addiction had taken over the individual’s life and sat in the driver’s seat, formulating his or her every thought and emotion. Part of recovery is for a person to learn how to spend his or her time doing healthy alternatives to getting intoxicated. For example, a person can choose several different types of exercise with which to engage in daily. The time required to do so can help to fill up a person’s day with productive activities. This, in turn, can help to provide a certain amount of structure to one’s life.

Making the choice to integrate daily exercise into one’s life requires a clear commitment from an individual.

Depending on the type of exercise, for example a workout class, there is also a sense of accountability that is placed on an individual. If a person does choose to participate in a group-type of exercise, he or she has a high probability of expanding his or her social network. Exercise classes and group sports are an excellent way to meet new people.

There are many aspects of recovery for substance abuse and addiction. People must seek a treatment program that best suits his or her own individual needs. Most importantly, an individual must get help if he or she is struggling with substance abuse. The physical, emotional, and mental damage that can occur in an individual abusing drugs or alcohol is immense.  If a person wishes to gather further information regarding substance abuse and addiction, there are a number of options available. A person should feel free to reach out to any treatment center, substance abuse clinic, hospital, or shelter for more information.


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